Activists picket at Cape Town Harbour over impact of offshore seismic testing by Shell

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Protesters have expressed concern about the impact of petroleum giant Shell’s Amazon Warrior ship on the local ocean habitat after the vessel docked at Cape Town Harbour.

It is believed to be en route to the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast to do offshore seismic testing.

Protester, Liz McDaid, who is the Strategic leader of Green Connection, says seismic testing involves loud pulses near the sea bed to check for gas and oil.

She says the noises put marine life at risk. McDaid says Shell used a loophole in the law to get a permit.

“Oceans not oil has a petition running. The Green Connection is obviously supporting that and at some point, I’m sure various environmental groups want to hand over that petition to different government officials in order to try and put pressure on them to pull the permit,” says McDaid.

‘Exploration rights approved’

Meanwhile, the Environment Department says it is not in a position to comment on Shell’s imminent seismic testing off the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast as it was not involved in the decision more than eight years ago.

The Department of Environment’s Chief Director of Communications Albi Modise says during 2013, an application for exploration rights was approved by the then Minister responsible for the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

Modise says the decision remains valid and binding until set aside on review by a court of law.

The three-dimensional seismic survey is due to start on 1 December 2021  and continue for four to five months.

A petition calling on the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, to withdraw Shell’s authorisation for the survey has already collected more than 100 000 signatures.